The Holidays, The Winter Wave Of COVID-19, And A Wave Of Mental Health Issues

By Dr. John Rosa

I have been anticipating the wave of mental health issues that are growing and looming larger every day. I know, that as this article states, “It’s comforting to think that with precautions like physical distancing, proper masking and — hopefully — a future vaccine, the COVID-19 curve will flatten and, someday, end. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that a second curve, the COVID mental health crisis curve, is already forming. That, too, will cost lives if we don’t make concerted efforts to treat it.”

With the holidays coming, which are already particularly stressful for many people, and the winter wave of COVID-19 already starting to take its toll, we must steel ourselves to follow protocols more strictly despite the stress. We must all find ways to soothe ourselves for the long-term. We must weigh the real risks involved in going home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hannukah. Is it really worth the added stress to put your elder relatives at risk? If we all play it safe, maybe next holiday season we can return to the closeness of shared meals with loved ones we haven’t seen in a long time.

Everyone is under pressure now. This is the kind of emotional stress that leads to excessive drinking and experimentation with drugs. The stress on those who are in recovery from drug and/or alcohol use may become unbearable. If you or a loved one is in this group, please do whatever you can to support them and protect yourself during this stressful time.

The warnings are everywhere. According to one article, “COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are increasing again with no sign of stopping, sparking fears that the fall and winter wave experts had warned about all year is already here. Over the past week, according to The New York Times COVID-19 tracker, the U.S. has confirmed an average of 54,000 new cases per day, a 25 percent increase compared to two weeks ago. The surge cannot solely be explained by an increase in testing.

Be safe. Follow the established protocols. Find soothing activities to help you get through this. The digital age makes everything available online from yoga to meditation and spiritual services of every denomination. Gift yourself and loved ones with chiropractic and massage appointments this year. Strengthening your mental and emotional health can also strengthen your physical health.

No One Is Immune To The Growing COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis

By Dr. John Rosa

The fear of getting the virus is stressful enough. Add to that the disruption in lifestyle, the social distancing, the inability to travel freely, the quarantining, the mandate to wear masks in public, the inability to go to the office, the unemployment, the financial stress. I could go on, but I think you get the point. All of these things add up to tremendous emotional and mental stress.A COVID-19-related mental health crisis is building like a tsunami wave and it’s going to cost even more lives as it continues to grow. Let’s face it, life is stressful. Everyone experiences stressful periods. However, when stress lasts for extended periods of time, the effects on mental health can be devastating. The world has been living with the presence of COVID-19 for nearly one year. That’s a long time to live under duress.


Everyone Is Vulnerable

A recent article speaks to the growing concern around this issue. The article states, “While the physical symptoms caused by the virus may disappear in weeks, people will continue to suffer the impact of grief, anxiety and depression for months or even years. In addition to healthcare workers, those most at risk are older people, adolescents, people with pre-existing mental health conditions and those already caught up in conflict and crisis.”

Men and women in recovery from opioid use and abuse are especially vulnerable. Here in the states, as well as in other parts of the world, COVID-19 has led to cuts in mental health services and the closure of many facilities.

According to some sources, there have already been 60% of Americans reporting negative mental health impacts since the beginning of the pandemic. One article I read says that the adverse effects a pandemic has on mental health can last one to three years after the end of the pandemic. We have no idea how close we are to the end of COVID-19. We do however know that substance abuse is on the rise, as are thoughts of self-harm and suicide. A recent study shows that 25% of all adults are reporting having symptoms of depression.


Focus On Self-Care 

It’s perfectly normal to feel stressed and/or overwhelmed during uncertain times. The Mayo Clinic suggests some self-care tips that will help with your mental health during these stressful times. In addition to the tips below provided by the Mayo Clinic, be alert to signs of depression, the desire to drink or thoughts of taking a pill to ease the anxiety you’re experiencing. Be aware that substance use and abuse is likely to increase during tough times. Turn to your trusted sources for support and provide support to others when you can. Remember that no one is immune to the effects of prolonged emotional and mental stress.


Tips For Mental Self-Care 

  • Set and maintain a routine at home.
  • Focus on things you can control.
  • Use technology to maintain social connections with your loved ones. Consider a regular check-in schedule to give you something to look forward to.
  • Focus your thoughts on the present and things to be grateful for today.
  • Listen to music or read books.
  • Consume reliable news sources that report facts and avoid media that sensationalizes emotions. •Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.
  • Lean on your personal beliefs and faith for support.
  • Look for ways to help your community, such as blood donations, checking on older people in your neighborhood, or donating supplies or money to local organizations.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate what others are doing to help you and your community.


National Opioid Crisis Expert, Dynamic Speaker And Author, Dr. John Rosa Writes About How Unhappy The Holidays Must Be For Those Families Affected By Opioids

opioid crisis

Dr. John P. Rosa, opioid crisis expert, author and dynamic speaker, recognizes the efforts of the families who have suffered the loss of loved ones to opioids and acknowledges that holidays will never be as bright for these families.

ROCKVILLE, MD. December 20, 2019: Dr. John Rosa, dynamic speaker, national opioid crises expert, and co-author of The Recipe for Success with Jack Canfield, posted a new blog on his website entitled, “Unhappy Holiday For 400,000 Families Who Had A Member Die Of Opioid Overdose,” in which Dr. Rosa makes a holiday wish for all those who suffer.

Dr. Rosa states, “Every year there are more families whose lives are adversely affected by opioids.” He continues adding, “Loved ones who have died from overdoses or loved ones who are addicted to them do not make any holiday season bright and cheerful. The sad fact is that more than 400,000 people have died as a result of the opioid epidemic and more than 2.6 millions Americans are currently addicted.”

“To the friends, families and loved ones of those who have died or are addicted,” writes Dr. Rosa, “my heart goes out to you even more during the holiday season. I can’t truly imagine how heartbreaking it must be to have lost a child or a spouse or a parent so needlessly.”

Dr. Rosa goes on to add, “To all of those who suffer, I am continuously working to help rein in the suffering associated with this man-made epidemic. I am tireless in my efforts to promote pill-free methods for controlling pain after surgeries and accidents. I am consistent in helping to bring awareness to the fact that those who become addicted are not morally weak or inept in any way shape or form.”

Read the entire blog at

About Dr. John P. Rosa

Dr. Rosa is the Owner/manager of 14 health clinics in the Baltimore/Washington DC metro areas concentrating on musculoskeletal injuries of acute, subacute and chronic nature. He oversees the Integrative Medicine practice group which includes general medicine, Chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture and behavioral medicine that sees over 60,000 patient visits per year.

Active in sports medicine with consulting/treating college, professional and Olympic athletes. Creator of 24/7 RnR (Relief and aiding Recovery) an FDA approved analgesic cream. Founder of Accessible Wellness Solutions – an onsite corporate wellness program offering consulting, lectures and clinic management.

Leader in Chiropractic

Trustee of New York Chiropractic College for over 15 years and serving final 3-year term as Chairman of the Board.

Opioid Crisis Expert:

  • White House Surrogate/Consultant
  • Law Enforcement Consultant (Homeland Security, CBP, DOJ, DEA and Postal)
  • State and National Consultant to Opioid Task Forces
  • Corporate and professional organization consultant
  • Currently forming the Opioid Abuse Prevention Institute

Integrative Medicine Specialist:

  • Board service to Maryland University of Integrative Health
  • Consultant on Integrative Medicine to hospital cancer center
  • Reduced opioid prescriptions by 70% by integrating Chiropractic, physical therapy and behavioral medicine in a primary care setting
  • Expert/Speaker – educating primary care, urgent care and hospital medical staff on the Integrative Medicine approach to treating pain patients

Wake Up To Connection Between Depression And Opioid Use

By Dr. John Rosa


Mental health and the opioid crisis are intertwined.

Fall ushered in the chilling winds of change along with Depression Awareness and Mental Health Awareness month. As a consultant to local and national opioid task forces, I am aware that both mental health disorders and the opioid crisis are intertwined. Research continues to verify that the use of opioids is very common among people with mental health issues.

Those With Mental Health Disorders Receive More Than 50% Of Opioid Prescriptions

In fact, according to research, about 16 percent of Americans have mental health disorders. That’s roughly 38 million people. And those with mental health issues actually receive more than half of all opioid prescriptions.

How can we help those who suffer from the pain of mental health disorders and addiction to opioids? Shame keeps people from sharing their illness. The shame associated with mental health disorders has kept millions of people silently attempting to deal with their suffering alone. However, the silence is finally being broken. Mental health disorders are being talked about by those in the public eye which is helping others who are not so visible feel safer in sharing their secret too.

Perhaps sooner rather than later, the relationship between the two will become more understood. Of course, awareness is always the first step. Making it your business to become aware of the symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders is a step in the right direction. In fact, if you know someone who is addicted to opioids, you might explore whether that person has anxiety disorders too.

Opioids Feed Mental Health Disorders

Unfortunately there is also compelling evidence suggesting that opioid use can contribute to mental health problems. A 2016 study in the Annals of Family Medicine found that about 10% of people who were prescribed opioids developed depression after a month of taking the drugs. And, the longer they used opioids, the greater their risk of developing depression.

While a person may have been prescribed an opioid for relief of physical pain after surgery or an accident, their mental state may not have been questioned. If you know someone who shows signs of depression, anxiety disorders or other mental health disorders, you may want to keep an eye on them to see if they start exhibiting signs of using opioids. Most people will go to great lengths to keep both of these illnesses undercover as best they can. If you are a parent, spouse or friend of someone you suspect of either condition, do your best to lovingly discuss the topics with them.

Those with mood and anxiety disorders are twice as likely to use opioids than people without mental health problems. They’re also more than three times as likely to misuse opioids.

Winter Is Coming

Winter is known to exacerbate mental health disorders. The winter months are those in which Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are most prominent. Any time is a great time to start paying attention to the behavior of loved ones who may have exhibited or are known to have mental health issues.